Week One Almost Done

Thursday, August 30, 2007
Week one is almost done here. The week went well - still getting used to how things go up here, but things are going well. Still have no PO Box... and don't expect to get one any time soon - but on the bright side, the post office people know who I am now, so I no longer have to give my name when going to see if I have any mail (yeah!).

Have some more pictures for those of you who are curious to know what is going on up here, and the long awaited for classroom pics!

Not bad for a multi-level classroom eh?

Talk to a Human

Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Oh how the digital world works.

Classes went well today - my grade 2 and 3 ESL classes were, well.. wonderful. The grade 2 class loved Down by the Bay and I got some pretty nice drawings from the students too.. I'm going to have to create an art wall in my classroom. The grade 3 class enjoyed The Diary of a Worm and did some drawing representing the book as well.

My Media classes.. well.. there media classes. The students are still trying to figure out why they have to be there as they don't think they need the class to graduate (even though I did explain to them that they needed 5 CTS credits to graduate and if they didn't think they had to be here in class that they should go speak to the principal. Most of them agreed that they needed the class after that (hehehehe).

So here I am now, on hold with the aeroplan people as I wanted to know how many points I needed to fly from Nanisivik to Ottawa. At first I was talking with one of those robotic voices giving it vocal prompts on to where I wanted to be directed. And of course, we all know how the phones work up here in the North, static, popping, dropping of calls.. I got frustrated with the mechanical voice and said as clearly as possible "Talk to a Human!". Immediately, the voice replied back, "You've asked to speak to a customer service representative. Is this correct?" YES! It's amazing when technology does what you want it to do ;-). So as far as I know, it should only take 25,000 km to fly to Ottawa from up here as we are a neighboring province. Apparently it takes less points if you are a neighboring province as compared to a non neighboring province. Go figure.

Sea-Lift is Here!

Sunday, August 26, 2007
Yahoo! The Sea-Lift arrived early this morning (like 2:00 am) and started unloading around 8:00 am. And my order is on it! Yes! I can have canned peaches and peanut-butter toasts soon!

Went down to the docks (well.. the break water area where the barges are unloaded) and sure enough, my name and order was on the manifest list. I have two crates of dry goods coming in. Now, how big these crates are, I have no idea, but I will be taking pictures of them for sure when they get delivered here later on today (for 80$ ... not bad I guess.. better than me having to drag them back to my unit).

Today the weather is a little chilly out, summer I think is officially over, and its drizzly and grey outside ... but at least it’s not pouring rain.

Still planning out my first media module (Media & Me) where I'm going to (hopefully) get my students to examine what media is, what their media habits are and the main types of media that we come across - tv, radio, newspaper, and hopefully (if I can find the cameras .. if there are any, a couple of lessons on basic photography skills so they are ready for the next module). It’s kinda sad, no one in the school knows where anything was put at the end of last year. So I’m hoping that a lot of my students have their own camera that they can bring in and use to do the photography sections of the course. If not, i’ll have to improvise and find some pictures on line for them to work with.

i’ve been scouring the net trying to find funds and grants for technology... but haven’t really found anything yet .. hopefully I’ll stumble across a program somewhere that might be able to get me some funding so I can at least purchase some basic technology equipment ... and if not, looks like I might just write to corporations to see if they can help out in anyway.

First day with the kids

Thursday, August 23, 2007
The kids arrived today at school. We began the day with an assembly in our gym with both parents, students and community members. Going to the first day of school of the year is a large family event - especially for the younger grades. It was pretty amazing to watch actually. Kids running around being kids, the cool high school group hanging out in the corner, parents mingling with parents, and of course, all of us teachers looking at this mass of bodies wondering what we got ourselves into.

The assembly kicked off with a traditional prayer by one of the members of the DEA (District Education Authority) and then roll call began starting with grade 9. As students came upfront to stand with their class, I was off taking class pictures (as being the techie, I was designated camera person as well). As the grades called got lower the excitement in the air seemed to intensify. All I can say is that the kindergarten and grade one class are little cutie-patooties!

After assembly, there was kindergarten registration, classes until recess for grades 1-9 and high school registration (signing up for classes) all day long. I got to enjoy my day over with the high school team in registration ... it was quite busy, and aggravating at times since records were not in the best shape. But we made it through it and got it more or less all straightened out.

In the afternoon, I left high school registration around 3:00 so I could go off and finish preparing my classroom for my first group of elementary students that are coming in tomorrow. And I must say, my classroom is looking pretty snappy, all decorated and cleaned (I’ll post pictures of it later).

Tomorrow will be a big day, so I’m off ... here’s hoping that it will all go smoothly.

Photo Gallery is Back Online

Hi Everyone!

The photo gallery is back online ... I did have to convert the pictures downwards so they are not quite as crisp and vibrant as they are in their raw format ... but at least you can see the area up here.

Once my CD's and DVD's arrive here in Arctic Bay, I will send down a couple of CD's with pictures on them (in their original format) for y'all.

So, if you are interested in the pics you can go to http://web.mac.com/kendra.haines/iWeb/Above60/Welcome.html . I will also be posting duplicate blog posts here and there (as I never know which site actually does get published).



Pics from around the community

Here are some pics that I've taken while walking around town. Some are from town itself, others are from Victor Bay (which is about 5km away from us).

This is a general shot of the community:

New housing units being built (to be completed by December ... I'm hoping to get one of them next year):

Picutre of the hills / mountains that are to the left of my unit:

Victor Bay (about 5km away from us in a Northward direction):

Picture of Arctic Bay from the top of the hill leading to Victor Bay:

Hi Everyone

Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Well.. due to some unexpected technical issues (ie: signal dropping out and some rather unpleasant issues with upgrades to the broadband network here -- I feel a letter going to the Federal Government here) I have had to move my blog (sigh) to blogger as it can upload a lot easier.

So, no more pictures :-( .. as soon as the Internet issue here get's figured out, I will post up some pictures, but at least for now.. you can at least see how I'm doing and that I'm alive.


Community & Education

This morning we had community representatives (RCMP, our MLA, Mayor, Anglican Deacon and several Elders) in to talk to us all about how we all play a roll in the education of our youth in the community. Here in Arctic Bay, there is a strong link between education and family - such that families want to be involved in their child’s education and support us in what we are trying to accomplish; however, often they are not adequately prepared to help their children with their work.

We (us teachers .. at least us Western teachers) learned more about how the Elders used to play a much larger roll in the education of youth by teaching them traditional skills (hunting, hide preparation....), but now that there are so few Elders in Arctic Bay (only 5% of the population) this task has become a challenge. The Elders also told us that today’s youth are quite angry - they are caught in between two competing cultures - the Western Culture and the Traditional Inuit Culture. Youth just do not know who they are any more or to which culture they should associate with. The Elders encouraged us to share our culture with the youth of Arctic Bay and to help integrate it (and the Inuit culture) into our teaching. And that if we ever wanted an Elder to join us in our classroom, that all we had to do was ask.

We also met our MLA for Nunavut, Levi Barnabas, who commended all of us for coming way up here to engage in this cultural exchange. He also gave us a brief history of Arctic Bay and that if we as educators ever needed help finding something to visit him over at his office when he’s in town.

The rest of the day was spent trying to organize my two classrooms .. there coming along.. thank god I have all day tomorrow to figure it out.. as it’s a nice disaster down in the computer lab.

First Day In

Today was our first day in at the school where we had several staff meetings, met the returning staff and new staff, and got our teaching assignments. To my surprise (and maybe not so much to my surprise), I am split 50-50 between high school and elementary. I am teaching two high school ESL classes (10 & 11 - one per term) and two computer / media courses (year round), as well as teaching ESL to k-4. Yes, k-4. Does it look like I’m ready to teach k-4??? No ... but I guess i’ll just have to improvise ...

My classrooms aren’t all that organized right now either. The computer lab hasn’t had a techie in it for 8 years and old computers are everywhere. I was down there cleaning today and found a box filled with Apple ][e’s. Like we are talking old computers here. Throw them out everyone says. Well, I’m not allowed to. Apparently because they are a capital expenditure, we have to hold onto them until they have been amortized out. Uh .... I think a computer bought in the early 80’s has been amortized out by now. They don’t work, they will never work again, and you can’t really do anything on them except for type (and that’s only on those that even work). So, I’m in the process of moving them all out of my lab and into a corner of another class room as I have to make room for the old PC’s that I’m taking off of the pods and replacing them with the iMac’s.

My upstairs classroom is starting to come along.. got all of the old stuff out of it and made my bulletin boards all pretty :-) . Now all I have to do is figure out how to organize a classroom for k-4 and 10/11 .. this is the task now.

Still Alive ... More or Less Moved In

Been here in Arctic Bay for four days now and I’m beginning to settle in. My house (or apartment) is still lacking some of the basic things that would give a sense of normalcy (a working shower, washer and dryer ... were working on those... and if needed I will be placing the call to Cape Dorcet myself to get things accomplished).

Haven’t really unpacked anything yet.. brought out the things that I needed to sustain life (frying pan, pot, coffee pot and some basic toiletries, but everything else is still in bags and will probably stay in bags until my stuff from down home arrives ... which I hope is soon, as i REALLY miss sleeping on my futon.)

Tomorrow is our first day in at the school and we have to be there by 8:30am. Not too bad I guess. I also have to see if it is ok for me to sneak away to the health center for a little bit at 11:15 so I can get a booster shot (as I need to get my next round ASAP).

Today, was supposed to be a normal day. Until I tired to use the washing machine. It still leaks like there is no tomorrow and I think the pipes may need to be redone. This is task number one to get accomplished tomorrow (when I get a chance), as well as going to the Hamlet office and getting my tenants insurance all set up.

This afternoon we (my roommate and I) went out with some of the locals to the ‘picnic’ area out past the first bridge. It was pretty neat. Found out that our water is not trucked in from far away, but that we have a fresh water lake where we get it from, it is then pumped and transported here for us. And, I also tried a little bit of seal meat today (they had some cooking at the picnic). I wasn’t too bad ... not a meat I would eat all of the time though. We were also invited out for some fishing after the picnic (we are allowed to have 7 fish in our fridge as non-perm residents), but we decided not to go as we were tired and figured that we should try to get rested and ready for tomorrow.

Well... I'm Here!

Friday, August 17, 2007
Finally arrived in Arctic Bay Thursday Morning at 2:00AM. I was not a happy camper. I was tired, grimy, and all I wanted to do was take a shower.... however; I had no working shower in my unit (and I still don’t). I gave up having a shower, found my sleeping bag and pillow and just went to bed.

Woke up the next morning around 7:30AM (sigh... why did I have to wake up??). Puttered around my place a little bit (wanted to check it out to see if there were any irregularities that I had to let housing know of (and there were), then ventured out into the town to see if I could find a phone (since I had no working phone; and still have no working phone).

So, where do you go when your the new one in town, knowing where no one lives? To the RCMP. There, I had a mini crisis, as I was a) still extremely tired, b) grimy, c) hadn’t had breakfast yet as I had no groceries and the Northern wasn’t open, and d) really really really needed a cup of coffee. The RCMP let me have my mini-crisis, gave me plenty of coffee, reassured me that I was not the first to go to them to have a mini-crisis and let me use their phone so I could let my relocations officer know I had arrived, so I could call my principal to see if he knew where my keys were and of course, to call home to say that I was alive.

After that, I went over to the school to meet up with Tim (our principal) and Morty (Assistant Principal) and to check out the school. After checking out the school, I went over to the Northern to see what I could potentially find for rations until my sea lift arrived. Dear god... I freaked out when I saw the prices of some items: 2L container of generic OJ = 24.32$, 1 can of Pepsi = 5.00$, the look on the cashiers face when I purchased a bushel of Kiwis, Apples, Pancake Mix and Bran Buds = priceless. In all, the little rations that I purchased cost around 50.00$. Boy am I glad I ordered a sea lift.

From there, I went back home to cook up some lunch. I wound up having a pop-tart and a cup of coffee. After lunch, the manager of the housing corp here came over and we did an inspection of the unit. To say the least, I was point out things left, right and center. Starting with the fact that I had no working shower. We continued from there, and the usual things were written up - dust, need new windows (here, here and here), shower needs to be fixed, washer missing, dryer needs a vent, potential mold in behind the shower (as the whole dry wall area was wet). So of course ... things are slowly getting done. Ever so slowly.

And of course, I had to crash at another teachers last night as the paint was still drying in our unit and the fumes were... well, a little too much to handle - so I camped out for the night until my place was aired out.

Tomorrow is Saturday, not too sure what is going to be going on, but ... I imagine something will come up.